(Memphis) – An Arkansas couple says they tried to rent a house, but the real estate broker refused to rent to them. It happened Friday in Marion to Eric Holloway and Megan Tesene.
“He goes, it’s my religious beliefs on whether I want to rent to you, and he said I’m not going to rent to you,” Tesene said.
Tesene couldn’t believe what she was hearing when she was talking to real estate broker Richard Williforth.
“He asked, are you all married? And I said why, is that a problem? He said that’s a problem because I only rent to married couples.”
After explaining his rules, Tesene says Williforth let her know how he really felt about her, her fiance and their four kids.
“He goes, you’re a disgrace to our country having children out of wedlock,” she said. ” I just stood there, and I was like are you joking.”
The ordeal brought Tesene to tears.
“That was wrong, and that really hurt,” she said.
It’s also possibly illegal. The Federal Fair Housing Act says renters can’t be discriminated against based on religion or familial status, among other things.
She told him she was going to HUD about his practices, and she says he left the room.
When we tried to ask Williforth about the allegations he walked away from us too and offered no comment.
Tesene and Holloway said they’re proud of what they built and will fight Williforth to the end.
“My children aren’t a disgrace, I’m not a disgrace, he [Holloway] is not a disgrace. If anyone’s a disgrace, he [Williforth] is,” she said.
We spoke to several other renters in the area who have dealt with Williforth. They say this practice is nothing new and that his beliefs are common knowledge in the City of Marion.